Stopping an application for Probate:
How to enter a Caveat
This page will provide you with guidance if you wish to stop a probate application (‘enter a Caveat’).
If you have any questions, please contact the court office. The staff are there to help you - but they cannot give you legal advice.
When a person dies, they usually leave an estate (including money, possessions and property) and sometimes a will.
A will may name one or more executors to be responsible for collecting in all the money, paying any debts and distributing any legacies left to individuals or organisations.
In order to access the estate, the executor, or if there is no will the relatives of the deceased need to apply to the Court for a document called a Grant of Representation or ‘grant’. This process is called probate.
In most cases, applying for probate is a straightforward procedure.
If you have concerns about whether someone who applies for a grant has the right to do so and you want to ask the court to consider the matter, you can enter a Caveat to temporarily stop the grant being issued. You are then called the Caveator.
Why and when are Caveats used?
A Caveat is a way of preventing a grant from being issued.
Caveats are often used to create a ‘breathing space’ when someone has a legal questions about a will or a probate applicant. This gives the Caveator time to check if there are grounds to oppose an application for a grant.
For example, you could be concerned that:
- the will may not be legal - for example, is it the deceased person’s last will? Was the deceased ‘of sound mind’ (mentally competent) when it was made? Was it properly signed and witnessed? Has it been tampered with? Did the deceased re-marry or enter into a legal civil partnership after the will was made?
- the person intending to apply for a grant may not be entitled to do so; or
- there may be a dispute between people equally entitled to apply for a grant.
Who can enter a Caveat?
Anyone can enter a Caveat themselves or using a legal practitioner or other person licenced to provide probate services.
To enter a Caveat, you must be 18 years or over and you must be able to show that you have one of the following interests in the application:
- an interest - in other words, you are entitled to share in the estate;
- A contrary interest - in other words, you have a different interest from the applicant for a grant.
You cannot enter a Caveat jointly with anyone else - anyone who wants to enter a Caveat must do so individually.
How do I enter a Caveat?
You will need:
- an address where legal papers can be sent to you;
- The full name of the person who died (and any other names they were known by)
- The last address of the person who died
- The date they died
When should the Caveat be entered?
Once you decide you want to enter a Caveat, you should do so immediately. Don’t wait until you think someone has made an application for a grant or is about to apply.
What if I cannot obtain the information from the death certificate in time?
It may be that the death has not been registered or has been registered abroad. In these circumstances, we will normally accept the information you give us. You must try and ensure that the information provided on your Caveat application about the deceased is accurate to ensure the Caveat will stop the application for a grant.
What happens after I’ve entered a Caveat?
The court will send you a summons to attend a directions hearing. A copy of your Caveat will be sent to the applicant and they will also be summonsed to attend the directions hearing.
How long does a Caveat last?
A Caveat lasts for six months from the date it is entered. You may apply to extend it for a further six months, in the month before it is due to expire.
Can I cancel the Caveat?
Yes. You can withdraw it at any time.